by Rachel Greene
Although we have plenty of documentation (and even a movie!) that tells the tale of Facebook’s relatively small beginnings, it’s hard to imagine the social network behemoth as anything less than what it is today.
With more and more people signing in every day, it only makes sense for businesses to have turned to Facebook to broaden their reach and take advantage of what is, for the most part, free, crowd-sourced advertising.
The pitfall that many stumble into, however, is a lack of understanding as to how the Facebook Feed algorithm works and how they can use it to build their online presence. Having a Facebook page for your business is all well and good, but creating a page is not the same thing as building a presence and cultivating a fan base – without which, the page does little good.
Facebook recently announced some changes to their newsfeed algorithm that provided insight as to how older stories can gain traction and rise back into the feeds of those who may have missed them on their first appearance. Understanding the data that the algorithm listens to is valuable to those currently maintaining business pages on the network. This is a must for social media marketing. Engagement is your key to success.
Some very specific signals act as influencers for what turns up on a user’s newsfeed:
- How often a person interacts with a page, friend, or public figure
- The number of comments, likes, and shares a post receives from the user’s friends
- How often the user has interacted with that specific post type in the past
- Whether or not the user (and others across the network) are hiding a post or reporting a post (as spam, etc.)
Facebook estimates that up to 1500 items could be relevant to a user’s feed every time the feed reloads. The algorithm selects roughly 20% of those items to show to that user, based on the criteria noted above. If a user only scrolls through 50% of those items, they are still missing 50% of posts that may have been relevant to them. The recent changes to the algorithm have made it so that posts that may have been missed, by those who simply didn’t scroll far enough to see them, can now pop back up to the top of a user’s newsfeed. If an old news item begins to experience a continuing growth in popularity (ie: they continue gaining likes, shares, and comments even though time has gone by since they were initially posted), then that newsitem can reemerge. Of course, keeping your Facebook community active and robust depends on the continuous process of posting relevant information and making sure that your customers (and potential customers) are aware of your Facebook presence. It’s not enough to simply say “find us on Facebook.” Putting the onus on the customer does little to ensure growth. Remind them that you’re there. Give them the tool to get to you when you do so. Additionally, once they get there, make sure there’s something to keep them engaged. Customers interact with businesses for specific reasons – chances are, they’re getting their fix of epic fails and LOLCats elsewhere. Create and/or share posts that are engaging and insightful, as well as relevant to what you provide to your market. These types of posts will be more valuable to your business when shared, and may also help drive traffic back to your website. Want to learn more about using Facebook? Be sure to read the following article, “Using Facebook Apps Strategically to Meet Your Business Onjectives“.